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Book Reviews

Grady Harp - Hall of Fame Reviewer California, USA

ResponsiBElity: `First of all, accept yourself', December 21, 2012

The quote in the title to this review is from Swami Prajnanpad, but the essence of that statement is what fills every page of this particularly fine book. In an appropriate introductory note from the author Christine McKee states, `While you are reading this book and integrating the tools and strategies into your way of being, BE intentional, BE focused, BE unlimited. You hold the keys to all of the doors that appear along your chosen path.' McKee, in her gentle supportive way, offers thoughts and tools to assist us in dissolving the layers and veils that act as masks to keep us from living the life we have always wished for, desired, and truly intended for ourselves. And where does it all start? It starts with US.

Rarely has a writer created such a pungent and sincerely introspective and informative book on making changes in our lives to be exactly what and who we want to be instead of swallowing the pabulum of right and wrong and choices that are clearly not ours that out background impaled us with. McKee is a very bright Australian psychologist and educator and she take the time to introduce the reader to brain function - how we take in information, processes it and how that information becomes our unconscious that is the matrix upon which we draw in our conscious state - and she does this in a section devoted to brain physiology and function that may be short but it is thorough and correct (the functions of the thalamus, the reticular activating system and the amygdala) and in doing this she opens the door to understanding how our `being' is formatted and can be altered to our benefit.

While McKee unravels her concept of taking responsibility for our own responses and actions and by examining our conscious behavior as modified by our unconscious mental environment, she allows us to take on the tasks she presents to grow into the person we truly want to be - not a victim, or and insecure doormat with whom we feel we must live, but instead a refreshed and lively and wholly in-the-moment-NOW-being who can make choices and change those aspects of our personalities and perceptions simply by becoming who we want to be.

Her Manual of Life is an active ongoing journal, not an imposed burden but instead an open door to discover our intentions, our mood control and influence recognition, and in doing so finding a space where we are happy not only with ourselves (fully informed as to how we arrived at our `self') but also how that new Person can influence change in our work, our relationships, our goals in life and the ability to find beauty in every day. `You are 100 percent in control of everything you intend, think, feel, say, and do. So speak your truth after making observations that are free of assumption, drama, storylines, and ego.' `Love yourself and appreciate all of the wonderful gifts you bestow on others.' `Always intend and choose action or inaction based on what will serve the highest good for all involved.' `Accept yourself as you are in each and every moment.'

This book is one of the most seriously empowering books written. As is likely obvious from the above raves, I love this book. Christine McKee writes and thinks with a clarity and a complete approach to learning about who we are and who we can BE as any author in print. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, December 12

Grady Harp Review on Amazon

 

Dr. Joseph S. Maresca - Hall of Fame and Top 1000 Reviewer New York, USA

'Coping with Life', December 25, 2012

Be By Design - How I Be Is Up To Me by Christine McKee, Psychologist is an engaging book about the complex human engineering which includes both the conscious and unconscious mind. The author's description of the unconscious mind is an exhaustive delineation of the mind as a repository of information, emotions, body regulator, habit formation, instincts and energy conservation.

McKee makes readers conscious of deeply held beliefs, relationships, role playing, attitudes toward life and limiting beliefs. The most important of these embedded parts of the unconscious mind are the limiting constraints which tend to be self imposed. Examples are the need to settle for less, avoid controversy to fit in or a resigned attitude to struggle minimally for anything better.

McKee covers the unhealthy flight or fight responses people have to unmet needs, stress, pressure and perceived inadequacies. The body reactions to these responses includes heart ailments, drinking addictions, compulsive eating, bulimia, decreased circulation in the digestive tract, assaults on the immune system, reduced sex drive and a plethora of negations too numerous to list.

The author's approach toward dealing with these negations forthrightly is to step back and analyze
them dispassionately. This creates an opportunity to learn from past responses while taking full
responsibility for strategies to move forward. Part of the solution to these problems is seen in
the ability to achieve self-empowerment and to manage the classic comfort zones of familiarity which serve as stumbling blocks to positive changes to improve our overall situation.

McKee defines the comfort zones as career, family, relationships, spirituality, health, fitness and personal development or growth. Traditionally, people use fear as an excuse to stay inside their
manufactured comfort zones. The author's approach is to take on each comfort zone dispassionately and develop strategies to overcome the limiting aspects by analyzing unwarranted fears.

McKee utilizes a multi-step intention model to move people from inertia to action. These simple steps involve identifying our intention or goal, analyzing our belief systems or impediments to reaching a higher order, the needed tools or objects to reach a higher order, the requisite behaviors needed to move the agenda forward and diarizing progress on the intended outcome.

Be By Design - How I Be Is Up To Me by Christine McKee, Psychologist is an important manual of living which will identify systematic ways to cope with life more positively in order to overcome the classic stumbling blocks people have toward moving forward. The presentation transcends the traditional flight/fight modes to provide practical accommodations for seemingly intractable impediments to improving our condition in life.

Dr Joseph Maresca Review on Amazon

Dr Joseph Maresca Review on Blogcritics.org

Dr Joseph Maresca Review Seattlepi.com

 

Tom McGee "Tom" -  Springfield IL, USA

'An interesting read that may positively impact your life!', January 6, 2013

BE by Design: How I Be Is Up to Me is my first exposure to clinical psychologist and director of BE Institute in Brisbane, Australia, Christine McKee. I received a free review copy of this book in response to a press release from Bostick Communications.

Christine's aim in this easy to follow, 146-page self-help book is to challenge thinking patterns, habits and perceptions and to empower the reader with tools that can lead to a happier and healthier chosen life journey.

This study is divided into four phases--Awareness, Focus, Maximizing Potential and Choices--totaling 12 chapters that explain concepts and strategies while encouraging active participation in the learning process.

The author's credentials and bibliography are impressive; however, her knowledge and writing skills are noteworthy. Like her fellow author from down under, Andrew Matthews (Being Happy!), she is able to simply yet thoroughly explain complex concepts in a method that is interesting, easy to follow and a joy to read.

My best guess is that most people do not realize that most of their daily actions are accomplished on autopilot--responses from our unconscious--mental programming based on memories, habits, knowledge, learned skills without consciously thinking about it.

Likewise our unique individual thoughts--positive or negative--though not tangibly real affect our body's introduction of chemicals that affect our mood, body language, behavior, communications and how others respond to us and ultimately our health, stability, success and happiness. Amazingly, our reality is only a collection of those thoughts and can be altered to benefit our sense of well-being and how we treat and are treated by others.

Christine McKee's book provides epiphanies, tools and a path that if practiced may change the quality of one's life and is written in an interesting easy to read style. I wholeheartedly recommend it to those who influence the lives of others or those who want to improve their thoughts, behavior and sense of self-worth.

Enjoy!

Tom McGee Review on Amazon

 

Derek Logan - Manager, Brisbane Australia 

Taking Control, January 9, 2013

This has to be one of the best self development books I have read, period. It just makes sense. It is easy to read, and uses real world examples that I can relate to in my life. I have been using the tools since reading this book and it has opened my eyes massively. All I can say is thank you Christine for giving the tools to take control of my life!

Derek Logan Review on Amazon

 

Darcia Helle BookAddict Review - FL, USA

Fascinating! January 13, 2013

I'm not a fan of self-help books, which are often filled with trite sayings that work as marketing slogans but fail at functional advice. This book caught my attention because Christine McKee uses a psychological and scientific approach for behavior modification. The information here isn't as much new as it is put together and explained in a way that is both accessible and thought-provoking.

Each chapter is a mini lesson on the importance of things such as intention and focus. The language is conversational, and each lesson is followed by a section labeled 'A Call To Action', in which McKee offers simple steps everyone call follow in order to incorporate the changes in our lives.

An added benefit of this book is it helps us to understand and empathize with the behavior of the people in our lives. How we interact with others can often influence their response and behavior in any given moment, though we don't often see it that way.

Whether you feel you need to make some changes in your life or you're just interested in how our brains work to shape our perceptions and experiences, I highly recommend this book.

BookAddict Review on Amazon

 

Allain B. Buresse "Author, Speaker, Mediator, Attorney" BookAddict Review - MT, USA

Make every day amazing and be the best you can be, February 10, 2013

"Be by Design: How I Be Is Up to Me" by Christine McKee is a good addition to anyone's self improvement library. As a registered psychologist, this book is a bit more "clinical" than some of the self-help books out there, and that's a good thing. There is some substance to this book and not just some motivational cheer leading.

If you have read a lot of books in the genre, a lot of the message in this book will be familiar. But that does not mean you should dismiss it. Like Zig Ziglar used to say about motivation wearing off, so does a bath, so he recommended both daily. This is an easy book to work into your reading for some motivation and some research behind the strategies and why they work.

The book is divided into four parts. The first, Awareness, contains four chapters on the topics of the brain, your manual of life, unhealthy and healthy response options when feeling negative emotion and stress, and accountability versus non-accountability. Examples and "homework" or "assignments" are presented throughout the book.

The second part, or phase, is focus. The four chapters in this second are intention model, personal power, mood control, and choosing the now. I really like the "now" chapter and the concept of each day is a series of once in a lifetime events. This is harder than it seems, but this book should inspire people to give it a try and see the difference it makes.

Maximizing Potential is the third part and relationships and communications are covered. The final part, choices, also has only two chapters and they are on your mental diet and the power of gratitude. Again, there are a number of books that cover similar lessons, but McKee does a good job of presenting them here and I enjoyed the book. I wasn't that into her use of the capital "B" in the slogan or title, and I'm glad it wasn't used that much after the very beginning.

I like what the author is trying to do with this book and agree that it is up to each individual to design the life they want and to make each and every day the most amazing you can. I think if you take the lessons of this book to heart, and actually follow through with them, you will undoubtedly live a more fulfilled life and will be on track to life the life that you design.

Alain B. Buresse Review on Amazon

 

Michelle Kay Malsbury  Bookpleasures.com review - NC, USA

April 8, 2013

Christine McKee, author of Be by Design, Has authored one other book (2013, inside cover). She is a registered psychologist and Director of the Be Institute. Be Institute does psychological coaching, consulting, and training in Brisbane, Australia. Ms. McKee’s clients are corporations, persons in private practice, the mining industry/sector, not for profit organizations, and governmental agencies. To learn more about her and the Be Institute please log onto her website at www.beinstitute.com.au.

Ms. McKee states that (2013, p.1) that the first step in your “being” is about self-awareness. Especially understanding how what you think and feel and say affects the relationships in your life. Much of this comes from “social conditioning.” Each person’s reality is based on their current perceptions and past experiences and how each of us interprets those perceptions. (p.3) These interpretations help to give meaning to our actions and interactions. However, learning why we do and say and react the way we do can help us to change those previous perceptions, allowing us to refocus and be aware in the present. According to Ms. McKee we “are on autopilot most of the time.” (p.6) Changing from autopilot to living in the present is what each of us ought to strive to do.

Chapter 2 challenges us to “…know thyself.” (2013, p.19) McKee says “…all people have free will and choice in all situations….”. Because of this “free will” we can best honor ourselves and those around us by behaving with integrity and not being judgmental. (paraphrase, pgs.21-22) “Easier said than done” in most instances, but certainly worth trying.

Once you are aware of how you react and act, the basic element of knowing ones self, we can select to behave in a more empowering way. (2013, paraphrase, p.30) McKee states that “…the healthiest thing we can do for ourselves is to give all feelings equal value.” (p.35) She calls this living “in the moment.” Being able to truly live in the moment allows us to make the best decisions and therefore have the best possible outcomes from those decisions in all of our realtionships.

Accountability allows us to be responsible for our thoughts, feelings, actions, words, etc. (2013, paraphrase, p.42) McKee says this [responsibility] can be very empowering. Furthermore, we should “Understand that everything you do impacts the bigger picture.” (p.43) McKee calls this the “ripple effect”. If we are frozen in our comfort zones we can never hope to reach our true potential. (paraphrase, p.48) Freezing up is largely due to fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of change. Or simply fear itself. Knowing whether or not fear is holding us back can help is move forward. This helps us to “live a life with purpose.” (p.49)

Above are just some, of the many, highlights of this book. I will say that reading it invited me to collect my thoughts, etc., be honest in evaluating them, while also focusing on how to change those dynamics in order to obtain the best possible outcomes for all involved. Let me add that this was no easy process, but those things that we do that are painful for our psyches are oftentimes the best possible point for personal growth. I think that all of us can benefit from reading this book and doing the activities that Ms. McKee suggests along the way. Sit back, read, and enjoy! 

Michelle Kay Malsbury


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